Monday, December 31, 2007

One Blogger's Year: 2007 In Review

One Blogger's Year: 2007 In Review

Since the caucus countdown is now being measured in hours, my year in review is going to be much less comprehensive than last year's annual blogiversary review. Still, I had some big highlights, personally, politically and professionally.


  • I bopped around downtown Des Moines with my daughter at the Culver inaugural.
  • The first of my many wrong calls of the year: I really, really thought Tom Tancredo was going to be the break out of nowhere GOP candidate.
  • John Edwards makes the first of several large-size Iowa City stops, and John Kerry bows out.


  • Bears lose Super Bowl.
  • SILO passes in Johnson and Linn.
  • Edwards hires then fires Bloggers as Amanda Marcotte gets Dooced.
  • Obama throws his hat in and hits Cedar Rapids the same day.
  • The Vilsack campaign -- remember the Vilsack campaign? -- dies. Assets later picked up at a fire sale by Team Hillary.
  • Dave Loebsack makes the first of two Iraq trips.


  • JCDems have mini-cattle call at off year caucus with Dodd, Durbin, Fallon and Beau Biden.
  • The Edwards family gets hit with the bad news that Elizabeth's cancer is back; they quickly announce John's in the race to stay.
  • The neo-prohibitionists get busy on the 21 bar referendum.
  • I buy and become obsessed with Motorhead
  • Legislature passes same-day registration.
  • Zogby Iowa poll shows Edwards 27, Clinton 25 and Obama 23, which isn't all that different than what we see nine months later.


  • I turn pro as Iowa Independent launches (my number two personal life story of the year). As part of that, I run a little poll about blogging hats, which turns out to be a bigger deal than I thought.
  • My traffic takes off for the stratosphere on a Hillary-Edwards double liveblog day.
  • I meet Jimmy Carter for two seconds when he talks Palestine in Iowa City.
  • Every Democrat in Iowa east of I-35 attend the Obama Earth Day rally.
  • UI Republicans schedule then cancel 'Catch an Illegal Immigrant' day.
  • Stephanie Herseth breaks my heart.
  • Legislature wraps up and finally, after much fighting, passes the human rights bill.
  • The first of 639 Democratic debates introduces the world to Grumpy Grandpa Gravel.


  • I get to my first Republican event in about 15 years and see John McCain.
  • Thanks to a secret shortcut, Sally Stutsman's SUV wins the bike-bus-car race.
  • Team Hillary leaks and then disowns a Screw Iowa memo, and I try to make the case for Hüsker Dü.
  • Obama launches the health care plan in Iowa City, and Edwards hangs out on the Ped Mall for the first, not last, time.


  • Five of top six Dems (sans Obama) at Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids, as the Obama "keep the stage to himself" strategy starts to emerge.
  • I invent the term "couch potato liveblog" and Chris Dodd launches the debate timeclock.
  • My first encounters with the Mitt and Bill Richardson and my only Brownback and Newt moments.
  • Ron Paul gets lots of mileage out of not getting invited to a forum, as people start to notice.
  • Caucus Date Leapfrog begins in earnest as Florida jumps to Jan. 29 and Michigan starts making noise.
  • We first hear the phrase "Student Health Initiative Taskforce."
  • I crush on a bellydancer at Pride Fest.
  • The cool record store hates Celine Dion, but the Sopranos parody is pretty cool.


  • The Raspberry Beret makes its debut at Hill & Bill, and lands me on the front page.
  • A long day hanging out in Cedar Rapids watching the peace folks get arrested.
  • I bid farewell to the Bohemian Paradise of Gaslight Village with a double rummage sale and move to West Benton (personal highlight #3).
  • The harmonic convergence of movie 5 and the final book means Harry Potter rules the planet.
  • The state is Republican-saturated. I meet some asterisk guy named Huckabee and we chat about Zep and CCR. Tom Tancredo worries about the unborn illegal immingrants. (Missed opportunity: the slogan "Deport them, don't abort them.")
  • First of the two big GOP sex scandals: Vitter-gate.
  • My best headline of the year -- "McCain not dead, but neither was Terry Schaivo" -- turns out wrong.
  • My "Rudy Asked About HIV, Answers with 9/11" story gets Digged in a big way.


  • Mom and Dad have a 50th Anniversary on Ames Straw Poll weekend. Wisconsin folks say "gee, Tommy Thompson didn't do so good," and he quits the next day.
  • Brownback also gets burned though he struggles on for a couple months. Looking back, this is the big break for Huckabee.
  • The scandal of the year breaks in an airport bathroom. In happier news on the gay front, one couple gets married in a 24 hour window of opportunity in Polk County. Everyone predicts this will be a huuuuuge caucus issue.
  • On the Dem side, a debate in Des Moines and a five candidate labor cattle call in Cedar Rapids. I glimpse Elizabeth Kucinich, and for the first time I'm asked, "Hey, where's the raspberry beret?" Edwards outdraws Biden at the Hamburg Inn, and Dodd gets the firefighters.
  • Caucus Date Leapfrog goes nuclear. South Carolina and Michigan jump, and Saturday Jan. 5 for Iowa is the buzz. Dems pledge not to campaign in early states.


  • Personal Highlight Number One: On September 14 Koni and I surprise everyone and get married. Our honeymoon is the Harkin Steak Fry.
  • The Democratic candidate events start to get too numerous to note in a summary like this, while the Republicans start to spend time elsewhere. Rudy looks strong on the GOP side, as the religious right threatens to walk if he's nominated.


  • The Johnson County Fairgrounds becomes the center of the Democratic universe for the five candidate barbecue (Obama appears solo earlier that week). I'm a small sidebar as I blow my objectivity and win Johnson County Democrat of the Year (personal highlight #4).
  • Edwards picks up big SEIU endorsements in Iowa City, as labor chief rattle off the names of states faster than Howard Dean.
  • My liveblogging of candidate's stage music at Rudy Giuliani gets me an interview with Rolling Stone which I think is way cool (but they just use me as background).
  • Caucus Date Leapfrog reaches a manic peak and four Dems pull their name off the Michigan ballot. Iowa GOP settles on Jan. 3, and Dems follow suit.
  • Students slam the satellite voting sites for the city elections.
  • I break out the telescope and show the boys their first comet.


  • My front yard goes four for four as the students kill the 21 bar referendum. Matt Hayek waltzes to victory, Mike Wright wins, and Mitch Gross does what's unknown in recent memory and knocks off a Coralville incumbent.
  • Last major cattle call at Jefferson-Jackson. See John Edwards three times in 24 hours and nearly memorize the speech, and get the vague sense that Joe Trippi recognizes me (must be the hat).
  • I meet the Ron Paul REVOLution at the tailgates, and Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne at City High.
  • The little stacks of donkeys, dead elephants, and Chuck Norrises make their debut.
  • Leapfrog makes its abrupt conclusion and the calendar locks in.
  • I start saying things like "Awww, I just saw Bill Clinton LAST week, can you cover it for me?"


  • Oprahmania!
  • Down the road at Dave Loebsack's party, candidates send A-list surrogates not to speak, but just to schmooze. Later in the month, Dave makes his choice: Obama, and campaigns with him in Washington, IA.
  • Hillary overflows the hall and I catch the Fred for the first time. But I fail to complete the set of candidates, as Tancredo tanks before I catch him.
  • The new laptop arrives just in time for the schedule to get even more insane.
  • Arguments over whether or not students should caucus. Obama says yes, others, especially Hillary, aren't so sure. The dorms are open. Oops, they're not.
  • Huckabee's stock rises dramatically, Rudy sinks, McCain comes back from the dead, while Ron Paul robocalls the Dems.
  • Jodie Foster breaks my heart.
  • Looking ahead to next year, looks like Ed Fallon's challenging Leonard Boswell.
  • John Edwards wins the stage music of the year competition with "Salt Of The Earth" by the Stones, while Tim Robbins chain-smokes.
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